Friday, October 5, 2007

Who has a soul?

When I was growing up, my mother was a “poodle person”. The first one I remember was Pepper, a black and white toy, and Pepper was followed by Dusty and Boots, also toy poodles. Each of these, in turn, was given away to other family members or friends better able, apparently, to tolerate their bad behaviors. Dusty chewed furniture and Boots urinated on my parents’ bed. I don’t remember what Pepper did wrong; it was a long time ago.

Dad liked bigger dogs, and later we got our first Doberman, Duke. Duke lived with us for a couple of weeks, before Dad took him back and traded him for Koko. There was something about Duke’s ears that wasn’t quite right; he would never make it as a show dog. Koko, on the other hand, was perfect. A few years later, Koko got sick. He started running around in circles, biting his side. The vet found he had an enlarged spleen, and one day when I came home from school, Koko was gone.

Then there was another Duke, this one a St. Bernard. Duke stuck around until he started digging holes in the yard, then went to live on someone’s farm. I had always wanted an English Sheepdog, so we got Aristotle. Eventually, he got very large, as Sheepdogs often do when they’re no longer puppies. He went to a farm, as well.

There were others, too, but why go on? I remember when I was very young, asking my mother if dogs went to heaven. She said that she didn’t think they had souls like people do. I was glad I wasn’t a dog. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be given away because I got bigger or misbehaved. Maybe this had something to do with being viewed as having a soul.

I hurt for the autistic children whose parents and doctors claim that they don’t.


  1. Amen to that, Bev. I think my autistic son has more soul than lots of other NT people out there.


  2. For Christians or others who believe in afterlife and such to say something like that is particularly heinous. But as you point out by implication, the ramifications down here are that those without souls are also without earthly rights. Very scary.

  3. Dogs do have souls.

    I have to answer the do dogs go to heaven question often. According to the Bible, there are animals in heaven. It does not specify anything else.

  4. Of course, dogs have souls. The Bible says heaven is perfect. Would heaven be perfect without first beloved dog or cat, etc? Mine would not. My Aspie dd also points out that heaven will most certainly have a Disneyland too!
    - Missy

  5. There is a secular formulation of the idea of a "soul" as well, and that is the idea of "personhood". To accuse an autistic person of lacking a "soul" is, without even invoking religion into the picture, basically saying that autistics are not persons. So it's a heinous assertion regardless of what philosophical paradigm you are coming from.

  6. I have a soul. My assist dog Charlie has a soul also. My priest even blessed him in an event that honors Saint Francis of Assissi. He is a Jack Russell Terrorist and he runs, barks, digs, opens doors, climbs ladders, and recently ascended a 25 foot balcony and used it to scale the roof of a apt building. He returned with a rat. Such is life with him.

    Some folks need a stuffed animal.

    A soul is a religious idea with no science to back it whatsoever.

    So we shall now reference a religious text........that the beginning.....let there be light.....G-d made the plants and the animals and gave man dominion over them all and was good.

    Just because our kind has dominion does not mean that we get to decide what the value of life that G-d breathed spark of divinity into.

    I really do not care what some aged out Playboy bunny who is an attention seeker and book whore put in her prologue. What a state we have come to when we get our ethics and reason from has been actresses and D list celebrities.

    I also predict here and now her son will remain Autistic all his days despite her crystals and hoodoo.

    Sorry for my rant. Very thought provoking post.


  7. My understanding of the word "soul" is very different from what it was when I was a child. It is a strongly loaded word, however you look at it, denying either humanity or evidence of a transcendent nature, not to be taken lightly. Jerry K. is just the latest is a long parade of soul deniers where autism is concerned. It is truly a hateful thing to say of anyone.


    Charlie sound like an awesome friend. Thanks for sharing a little of his story.

  8. sandra,
    i have to say that i am a warm, spiritually enlightened, compassionate, loving human being who has been in a relationship with a man with aspergers for 8 years, in all honesty i have been to hell and back again several times and am left wondering if this human being has anything near a soul at all......

  9. To BigWhiteHat:
    You say that the Bible says that Heaven has animals. I have read the entire Bible and cannot remember the Bible saying that anywhere. Where (chapter and verse, please?) does the Bible say so?

  10. Pope Francis was heard recently consoling a child who had lost his dog reassuring him that his good faithful dog would be found in heaven. Of course, this made the religious and other tabloids!


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